Introduction There is an existing knowledge gap in occupational health and safety practice in Kenya. The scarcity of comprehensive research on health and safety; and emerging trends in the field evidences this gap. Lack of awareness of health and safety issues has posed a major challenge in the management of health and safety at work. Additionally, Kenya lacks adequate skilled professionals to deliver workplace health and safety services. As a result, organisations have adopted a culture that does not prioritise occupational health and safety. Consequently, there is a need to identify the emerging occupational health and safety challenges in Kenya. In this regard, the purpose of this research is to identify the training needs of health and safety practitioners in Kenya. The study will explore their knowledge, skills and future priorities in relation to health and safety.
Method A review of the scientific literature and pilot interviews informed the design the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted face-to-face with 20 workplace health and safety practitioners to explore their views on the current and emerging risks to occupational health and safety in Kenya. The data was recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
Results Thematic analysis of the interviews resulted in the identification of 6 main themes: (i) Exposure to hazards ( occupational accidents, diseases), (ii) Barriers (lack of awareness and knowledge), (iii) Management of Health and Safety (health and safety audits, risk assessments) (iv) Emerging Risks ( changes in technology, industrialisation) (v) Health and safety training (basic training, continuous training), and (vi) Priorities for Health and Safety (culture change, training, legislation, create awareness).
Conclusions There are challenges facing workplace health and safety in Kenya that need to be addressed. Practitioners training needs vary and change over time depending on the emerging trends in the field of health and safety.